We hear the refrain repeatedly: law firms need to measure their data. But with so much information available, what should law firms be measuring?

Before diving into the different types of data, you might want to consider why measurement is important in the first place. According to Keith Lipman, president of Prosperoware, measurement helps you figure out "how do you improve something?"

"If you don't have standards, and you don't measure those standards, how do you say you're doing a good job?" he asked.

Turns out this depends on what sort of law you practice. As Mark Langdon, executive director at Ballard Spahr, said, "One of the things you come to realize if you’re looking at the business of law, they're all very different businesses." This means different target markets and business cycles.

What's more, one has to consider the state of the business. Some are in "full maturity," while others are in decline. And what about competitors? In some cases there are "lots and lots of competitors out there, with client demands and cost limits changing," he said.

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